Hubie Halloween is a Netflix original movie directed by Steve Brill. The comedy stars Adam Sandler and is written by Sandler and Tim Herlihy. Other members of the cast include Kevin James, Julie Bowen and Steve Buscemi. The movie is set in the city of Salem, Massachusetts. A place famed for its history and its Halloween, the entire city is absorbed into the holiday. One of the citizens is Hubie Dubois, played by Sandler. Hubie has declared himself as the official Halloween helper, making sure everyone stays safe during the 31st October.
Hubie is the outcast of the town, frequently mocked and abused by everyone in the town, except for a select few. Hubie is consistently ignored, but when a patient escapes from a mental hospital nearby and a new neighbour moves in next door, the Halloween helper may be the only one who notices when bizarre events start taking place… The story is initially grounds for a really entertaining adventure, but that very quickly evaporates as the audience ventures past five minutes. Hubie’s plot moves at a debilitating pace while not doing much to pick up. There are multiple threads that begin to unravel around Salem, each one stepping over the other as the day progresses. The movie takes place over a very short amount of time, 36 hours at most, but it does not feel like that with the run time.
The contents of the scenes don’t help either. The narrative of the escaped patient is put on the side as the mistreatment of Hubie is frequently the centrepiece of the plot. The comedy is very similar to many of Sandler’s repertoire, with the humour operating at a very low level of subtlety. The jokes are overly long, making what would be funny gags become awkward, which spreads throughout the entirety of the movie. The setup can be seen way before the punchline, which often aren’t worth the length of time it takes to get to them. Every scene takes too long, dragging out any enjoyment from them to. Some scenes become so uncomfortable to sit through that they had to be skipped past.
The one thing that isn’t seen coming is the twist at the end, but that is because there is nothing to hint at it before it happens. That final confrontation is far too full of dialogue and turns the surprising reveal into a boring resolution.
Sandler’s performance and writing of Hubie becomes insufferable the more he is on screen. Hubie is portrayed as this kind, considerate person who is perceived as weird by those around him. In social situations, he makes a fool out of himself, but has the best intentions in mind. On Halloween, he patrols the streets of Salem to enforce trick or treating etiquette and cracking down on the teenagers at their barn parties. Sandler doesn’t alter Hubie’s personality at all with very little growth. The worst part of the character is the ridiculous voice the actor recites his lines with. Every word he speaks is muffled by a lisp and speech impediment that borders on offensive. The voice is unrelenting and unerring in its tone that is becomes monotonous very quickly and detracts from any possible funny thing that might come out of his mouth. Which is lucky, because there isn’t many that do.
The other cast members all seem to be having fun in their roles, but there seems to be a struggle for that to be reciprocated by those watching them. Bowen plays Violet Valentine, the one person who treats Hubie with some dignity and is hopelessly in love with him. Her devotion to the downtrodden heroes initially feels sweet and fresh considering the toxicity the rest of the city has for him, but it soon becomes clear that it is the only reason she is in the script for. James, playing the local police officer, is someone that seems to treat Hubie with indifference, ignoring him or downplaying his reports of crimes in the area. He is also one-dimensional and is unable to give his lines the delivery needed to make them work. Buscemi provides the best character within the film, playing the mysterious man moving in next door to the Dubois family. But his arc is so bizarre within the context of everything else it feels out of place. Nearly all of the characters feel flat and do little to endear the audience to them.
The set design and costuming feel cheap, but in the case of the costumes, it works. For the majority of the movie, peripheral characters are dressed in terrible Halloween costumes, and for the most part look genuinely homemade. However, for the figures in the film that don’t have fantasy or horror getups have bland looks that are unremarkable in every way. Whether it be a police uniform or a waitress dress, they are all uninspiring. This goes for the overall look in Hubie Halloween, whether it be props, prosthetics or locations. They don’t capture the mind and imagination and dampens the mood even more.
Hubie Halloween is a horrific movie that lacks inspiration. Sandler and Herlihy write a dreary, unfocused plot that never engages the audience in the slightest. The comedy ventures from inducing boredom of anger at how terrible the jokes are. The scenes are unpleasant. The characters all exist to react around Hubie, who in himself cannot command a screen. Sandler’s awful voice is grating and will do nothing but annoy those that watch it, attached to an otherwise forgetful protagonist. Sandler’s movies have become synonymous with how bad they are and the impression is given that he is leaning into how bad they are to force people to watch them. So my advice is to not go anywhere near it, because he might make more.
Hubie Halloween is available exclusively on Netflix
Hubie Halloween is a horrific movie that lacks inspiration. Sandler and Herlihy write a dreary, unfocused plot that never engages the audience in the slightest. The comedy ventures from inducing boredom of anger at how terrible the jokes are. The scenes are unpleasant. The characters all exist to react around Hubie, who in himself cannot command a screen.
Screenwriter with a love of comics and movies. Once referred to Wuthering Heights as “the one with the Rabbits.”